And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.”
— Luke 1:46–49 (NIV)
I have incredible admiration for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her obedience and courage inspire me. She had the incredible privilege of being the mother of the Son of God, but in accepting this blessed role, she also accepted a life of scandal and grief.
Mary willingly accepted the sacrifice of her hopes and dreams to obey God’s call on her life. “I am the Lord’s servant,” she professed (Luke 1:38). While her cousin, Elizabeth, understood and shared the joy of her miracle pregnancy, Mary’s fiancé, Joseph, needed more convincing. It took an angel appearance to convince Joseph to go ahead with the wedding, but he too accepted this special calling to provide a family for this special child.
Mary and Joseph accepted an extraordinary blessing as they stepped into the unique place in history God chose for them, but it wasn’t an easy or comfortable life. They paid a high personal price for the blessing they received.
Obedience to God’s call is never easy. Parenting, preaching or praying—a surrendered life is not an easy life. Blessings and joy mix with pain and grief. We can be right in the middle of God’s will for our lives and still have storms to face and mountains to climb. A surrendered life lives in a sinful and broken world, a deteriorating body and a complicated story.
Mary’s pain doesn’t overshadow the joy she has in God. I love her declaration as she sings, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Luke1:46–47). Mary understood her pivotal part in the tapestry of God’s redemption story. Through the humiliation of carrying a baby out of wedlock, the challenge of raising a unique Godchild and the pain of watching Jesus in his final hours, Mary knew God’s hand was on her life and celebrated his goodness to her.
Life doesn’t hold what we expect. Our hopes and dreams rarely measure up to our reality. God calls us to face challenges with obedience and courage. We can be completely in God’s will and still face pain and struggle.
Like Mary, we need to remember we are a part of God’s redemption story; we have a role to play in building the Kingdom of God. Our life has purpose and meaning when we lay it down and answer God’s call. Unlike Mary, most of us haven’t had an angel appear to tell us God’s plan for our lives, and sometimes we can be crippled by indecision as we try to discern God’s will for our lives.
God calls us to simple obedience in the mundane and ordinary tasks of life, like Mary’s call to motherhood. As we serve God in the everyday moments, he opens up opportunities and plants new dreams in our hearts. We follow one step at a time with simple faith and belief in the God who calls us, and we see God’s extraordinary plan open before us.
Never underestimate the part God is calling you to fill in his kingdom plan. No one else can be the person God created you to be. No one else can parent your children or love your spouse the way you can. No one else can be the friend, daughter, or sister you can be. No one else has the unique mix of gifts and opportunities you have. It is good for us to recognize and celebrate the blessings God has placed in our lives, and the contribution we alone can make. Let’s straighten our shoulders and stand tall in our unique identity. Praise God! For you are fearfully and wonderfully made! May we, like Mary, rejoice in God our Saviour for the favor he has shown to us.
Christine is a writer who packed up her city life to live in an RV and travel full-time around Australia with her husband. Christine writes about faith, self-care, and simple living in her blog, Living with Margins. For more blogs from her, click here. You can listen to our Bible studies by tuning in to your favorite radio station, listening to our podcast on iTunes, listening through TuneIn, Spotify, or Stitcher online radio, or watching on YouTube.